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Kootenay cancer patient thanks Interior Health staff for caring

Letter from Gerry Sobie and family, Castlegar
The KBRH Gratitude Mural by Tyler Toews was unveiled in June 2021. L-R: Kala Draney, third year med student, Dr. Scot Mountain, Diane Shendruk from IH, Dr. Carolyn Stark, Dr. Sue Benzer, Dr. Kristen Edge, James Brotherhood, Dr. Dennis Small, and Dr. Sue Babensee. Photo: Submitted

Certainly not by will or choice have I recently spent three weeks in our area hospitals in Castlegar, Nelson and Trail. Add to that, my need for home care and support for the last while, and I can say that I’ve gained an intimate, first hand knowledge about some of the workings of our Interior Health Authority.

Their organization has discovered the fact that I have contracted a cancer and I find myself becoming more than somewhat reliant upon them for care, treatment, direction, support, guidance and a host of other needs.

I’ve been hospitalized before for shorter stays that involved more action. Because of all that I was dealing with this time around, it felt like I was spending a lot of time lying in bed and just being. As part of their job and routine, nurses, care aides, doctors, various therapists, technicians and other staff would help break my monotony to do whatever needed to be done.

Once my health allowed me to start noticing what was happening around me, something became obvious. These folks — as IHA staff working together to restore my health and well-being — were not only addressing my physical needs but they were going well beyond that. Almost collectively, I saw staff reaching out to me and showing interest and compassion. By a comment, a smile, an action, I saw the care of the staff coming through.

Let’s remember that we are still living in unique times. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is alive and well, our hospitals and medical facilities are very conscious of this virus and how it affects them and all others’ well being. IHA administration is doing what they can to weigh the needs of their institutions against staff health, patients’ need for treatment and getting the formula right.

Staff displaying symptoms can’t work, which affects who is available for the next shift. In some cases, staff don’t know what they face from one day to the next. However, all is being done to keep our facilities open, staff and patients safe and medical issues addressed.

My wife and family have had the opportunity to witness first hand why and how this works. In two words: “staff cares.”

From the nurse giving us her phone number if we needed coaching with a catheter issue to the doctor calling just to check in is showing us that people do indeed care. Our health care staff aren’t just doing their job for the money. They care for and about the rest of us. How can we thank them for all they are doing for us? We appreciate you, health care workers.

Gerry Sobie and family,